STANWOOD, Mich. -- A sales concept borrowed from the auto industry that allows home buyers to trade in their home for a new one at Tullymore Resort is paying off handsomely for the Mid-Michigan golf resort.
In less than six months the resort has recorded sales of 10 single homes and condominiums worth $4 million. In each case the resort bought the homes of their new buyers for its appraised value on condition that the owners buy a Tullymore property.
Terry Schieber, Tullymore's chief executive officer, said the home trade-in program is gaining momentum as the message circulates about the benefits for homeowners who want to relocate, or are having difficulty selling their homes.
"You have to want to come to Tullymore," Schieber said. "If you want to live in say the Detroit area or in another resort, you're not going to want to trade up to come to Tullymore. But if you like the area then you would like to live here at Tullymore."
While some purchasers came from nearby communities like Midland and Big Rapids, others are from as far away as West Bloomfield, Battle Creek, and East Lansing.
Bill Young, who recently took a job as the sales manager of a Big Rapids auto dealership, said he and his wife, Linda, are still pinching themselves over their recently complete home swap deal with Tullymore.
"I had heard about the Canadian Lakes area and heard that Tullymore was the premier golf club in the neighborhood but never thought I would be able to afford living there," he said.
After starting his new job he rented an apartment and began house hunting.
"Of course selling my home down state was a stumbling block, and I had seen something about the home trade up program at Tullymore on line and dismissed it as 'yeah right,' a kind of offer that is too good to be true," Young said. "One of our customers who lives out there kind of bullied me into it, or at least into checking it out, and sure enough, it's as good as advertised."
The Young's home in Battle Creek that Tullymore took off their hands was built in 1964 with four bedrooms and two and one-half baths. Their new one at the resort is a three-bed room, two-and-one-half bath model.
"Its actually bigger and a whole lot newer," Young said. "Now I know why people trade in their cars because it's a hassle to sell it yourself. It was hard to believe but we did a purchase agreement for our old house and a purchase agreement for the new house all at the same time. It was as simple as that."
A bonus, he said, he played the Tullymore golf course for the first time after he made his deal and experienced what reviewers have said about his new home course.
"It's just fantastic. I'm really looking forward to playing there," Young said.
Marv Thompson, a professor at Michigan State University, and his wife Brenda, an assistant dean there, didn't need a job transfer to decide to move to Tullymore.
The basement in a model home they inspected there sold them on the idea.
One afternoon in May the couple was at St. Ives, Tullymore's sister course, when Brenda suggested they look at model homes at Tullymore. "I said no. Look I don't want to see any model home. You're not interested in living in Michigan. I know you want to move back to North Carolina," he said.
Thomas said he gave in to his wife's pleading and followed her into a Tullymore model home.
"We looked around and then went down into the basement which was just exquisite. Brenda turned to me and said 'You know Marv, I could live here.' The basement sold her," Thompson laughed.
The couple returned to Tullymore in July and looked at other models, visited the $7 million clubhouse, and talked to residents who enthusiastically endorsed living there.
The couple settled on a three bedroom 3,700-square foot condominium on the 8th tee and will move in next summer after all the upgrades they want are completed. Their home in East Lansing that Tullymore purchased also has three bedrooms but is much smaller at 2,800 square feet.
"It's a steal," Thompson said. "It is a wonderful buy for us."
Although their original plan was to spend winters in North Carolina Thompson said now after spending time at Tullymore they may stay there year round.
"I've golfed in the past and will take it up again," Thompson said. "Brenda is also interested in golfing. She is so excited she can't contain herself."
The Tullymore home trade-in program works because the resort owns all their properties free and clear of debt or mortgages.
In the past three years the developers of Tullymore have invested more than $50 million in the resort, anchored by two award-winning golf courses. A dramatic $7 million clubhouse was nationally recognized as one of the country's best when it opened two years ago. The property offers a 44 room inn as well as a 10 bedroom lodge.
In addition to a wide inventory of houses and condominiums for sale, Tullymore also offers fractional ownership in four luxurious villas that make up the Residence Club. The club is part of the Registry Collection of exclusive vacation properties around the world. Owners of Tullymore units have access to this global network of the finest vacation properties and services.
The Tullymore golf course was designed by top architect, Jim Engh, of Colorado. It has won numerous national awards and is ranked15th among U.S. public resort courses by Golf Digest magazine. The older St. Ives course, designed by veteran architect Jerry Matthews of Lansing, has also won an impressive number of awards.
Last year a panel of readers of Golf World magazine selected Tullymore as Michigan's best golf resort.
For more information, visit www.tullymoregolf.com.
Tullymore Golf Resort
Resort & Golf Marketing